Worthing CC look to long-term after returning to premier league … Haywards Heath CC enjoy perfect start

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It’s been a tough start to life in the Sussex Premier League for Worthing CC, who have lost both their opening matches. But they are staying calm and as they look for an upturn in results, they are also taking a long-term approach to things.

We caught up with new captain Darryl Rebbetts to talk about his new role, the opening couple of games – and the longer-term future of the club.

Darryl, tell us how long have you been playing at Worthing and how much of an honour is it to take over as captain amid your wider role at the club?

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I was at Worthing for five seasons in my youth between 16 and 21 and now this is my third year back (so eight seasons in total) after coming back to help Worthing get back to where we should be as a senior club.

Harry Merritt-Blann strikes out for Worthing v Roffey | Picture: Stephwn GoodgerHarry Merritt-Blann strikes out for Worthing v Roffey | Picture: Stephwn Goodger
Harry Merritt-Blann strikes out for Worthing v Roffey | Picture: Stephwn Goodger

This doesn't just mean the first XI, this includes all the senior teams, and as Head of Cricket at Worthing, my aim is to continue to push all teams up the leagues.

This has started really well with back-to-back promotions with the ones, and promotions from the threes and fours as well.

We have also just put out a fifth XI for the first time which is really exciting as we aim to gel more of our excellent youth system into adult cricket.

Roffey celebrate a wicket at Worthing, where they won | Picture: Stephen GoodgerRoffey celebrate a wicket at Worthing, where they won | Picture: Stephen Goodger
Roffey celebrate a wicket at Worthing, where they won | Picture: Stephen Goodger

This is a really exciting time for Worthing CC.

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Graham Meritt-Blann has moved from Broadwater to us to captain the second XI and co-train the seniors alongside me and he's an excellent coach.

We look forward to seeing how we progress over the next three seasons.

This is a long-term plan, not just a quick fix.

What's the aim for this season after promotion - just to survive first year, or are you looking for mid to upper table finish?

It is about trying to compete with clubs who have established themselves in the premier league over a long period of time and that is a challenge for lots of us who haven't played to this standard.

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But we see this as positive challenge and an exciting one for us to take on.

The first two games have brough two losses but are there some positive signs - could either game have gone the other way do you feel?

The first game (a loss at Three Bridges) was an eye-opener and the overseas player’s ability was clear for everyone to see.

We will have to adapt quicker and occasionally appreciate the talent on show and that everyone is allowed to have great days on the cricket pitch.

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Roffey, who we played on Saturday, are a really experienced side and chased really well.

We bowled and fielded excellently, and our batting showed good depth again, it's just going to be about scoring more each week and being really disciplined to bat the 50 overs properly.

We have Nomads this coming weekend, who will give us a really tough challenge.

But we deserve our place in this league after the excellent efforts in the last two seasons and look forward to each game.

Haywards Heath CC

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Heath sit proudly joint top of Sussex League Division 2 after winning both their opening matches.

They began with a 35-run win at Buxted Park and followed it with a 28-run win at home to Eastbourne, their total of 149 looking thin but proving to be enough.

Heath go to West Chlitington this week looking to keep up their great start.

Skipper Callum Smith said: “I’m very happy to start with two wins, we’ve had good contributions all round the team.

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"We posted a big score at Buxted which was pleasing and Jethro Menzies showing his class with a big 100 to set the tone.

"Winning last Saturday after being 50-6 showed great fight, as we posted 149 and defended it against a good Eastbourne side. Runs down the order were very important, credit to the young lads.

"Chris Abbey, an Aussie leg spinner who is English-qualified, is a massive addition for us – he is a top all-round player and has good experience captaining at a strong level back in Aus.

"Young lads who signed last year are now stepping up and showing their quality. So we’re very happy with the team, we have good depth this season which shows in the strength of our other sides and the club now turning out five teams.

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"We’re looking to push and challenge at the top this year but it’s a tough league with every game competitive.”

Littlehampton v Chichester

Division 3 West

Littlehampton hosted Chichester at The Sportsfield and captain Mike Askew won the toss and backed his batters to post a competitive total.

They finished on 263-8 off their 45 overs. Australian Connar Robson crashed 102 off 65 balls on his home debut and Ally James played a fantastic supporting role, scoring 72.

In reply, Chichester were 118-1 off 22 overs but spinners Nathan Perry (3-23) and Ben Duffell (3-31) pegged them back and they lost their last nine wickets for 64, falling 81 short of the hosts’ total.Askew said: “After coming so close at well fancied Steyning last week, it was great to get our first win.

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"Connar’s innings was as good as it gets but as I told him, he probably left 100 runs out there. Ally has started the season brilliantly.

"With the ball, Pezza and Duffell bowled really well together.”

This Sunday Littlehampton CC host an afternoon of cricket for women and girls aged ten and up. It’s a fun introduction to cricket from qualified coaches. Equipment is provided and the session will be soft-ball only. The session runs from 2pm to 4pm.

Shoreham & Southwick v Forest Row

Division 8 Central

Prolonged spells of rain on Saturday made for difficult conditions at Buckingham Park.

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Captain Tom Bell won the toss and asked Forest Row to bat, and Gary Mussen and Paul Hudson struck early then Mussen added another to see Forest Row 39-3 off.

When Dean Ghasemi took a wondrous one-handed boundary catch the home team began to scent victory. A fine run-out from Fin Walter saw the score at 74-5 with Harry Dorgan taking a wicket.

Dorgan (4-20) took another couple and Forest Row were 117 all out. Debutant 15-year-old Archie Wareham also bowled well.

The home side started shakily but a decent stand between Farhad Barakzai and Dorgan edged the score up until Barakzai fell lbw for 17.

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A clatter of wickets placed S&S in a perilous position and Forest Row took victory by 23 runs.

Cuckfield 222 All Out (47.1 overs); Horsham 216-9 (50 overs) – Cuckfield won by 6 runs

by Martin Read

In a very close game at Horsham reigning champions Cuckfield won by 6 runs after being dismissed for 222, Horsham pacing the chase well, only to lose vital wickets at crucial moments.

With doubts about the weather, Horsham inserted the visitors and soon reduced them to 26-2 with a wicket apiece for Sussex academician Oliver Avinou (3-46) and Sam Martin-Jenkins. Skipper Wesley Marshall steadied the ship with 48, Joe Cambridge following up with 39 and wicketkeeper Bradley Gayler 50. Cuckfield hit eight sixes, but Horsham kept chipping away, Captain Will Beer finishing with 2-35 from his 10 overs.

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Replying, Horsham lost a wicket to the first ball of their innings. The next three batsmen started promisingly, only to get out when seemingly well set, but with Beer at the helm, accompanied by keeper Sam Bell, then Martin-Jenkins and George Briance, the result was in the balance with Horsham keeping up with what had become a ten an over asking rate. But, when Beer was run out for 65, and with 17 required off the last over, the task became too much, Will Rogers taking 3-41.

Worthing 175 all out (45 overs) – Roffey 176-3 (43.1 overs)

by Martin Read

In one of the two Sussex Premiership games streamed live on You Tube, Roffey elected to field at Worthing, restricting the hosts to 175 all out, then cruising to victory with 41 balls to spare.

Young bloods Toby Munt and Lewis Shivnarain opened the bowling, keeping it tight, between them sending down 15 overs for 43 runs and 2 wickets. All rounder Jonny Phelps then took 2-40 and Will Fenwick 4-35, Worthing losing wickets at regular intervals despite Harry Merritt-Blann’s 61 at slightly better than a run a ball.

After Roffey’s narrow defeat last week Theo Rivers told the County Times: “We’ve got to win at Worthing” – and he made sure that happened with a determined 91, Roffey reaching 123 before losing their first wicket, skipper Matt Davies making 43. By the time two more Roffey wickets had fallen the result was never in doubt, Ben Whelpton’s 21 ensuring the clinical win, Davies telling the County Times: “Nice to get a win after a disappointing first week. We started well with Lewis and Toby picking up wickets, giving us early control. We managed to bowl them out, with Fenners doing well, but we thought they’d probably got at least 50 too many. Worthing bowled nicely on a tough pitch, but Theo’s innings was fantastic, deserving 100. It was pleasing to win comfortably and hopefully that’ll give us confidence against East Grinstead next week – they’re a very good side and we’ll prepare thoroughly.”

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Elsewhere, Hastings posted 204-8 and then shot out East Grinstead to win by 100 runs (Iden McCleave 4-7), Preston Nomads racked up 356-7 with Jonty Jenner bludgeoning 146 off 78 balls, then bowled out Three Bridges for 98 to win by 258 runs (Nav Patel 5-28, Archie Lenham 4-5) and, after Middleton had made a challenging 273 (Harry Hovey 120, Aditya Ajit Rane 5-37),

Bognor won by 8 wickets with nearly 6 overs to spare, courtesy of 162 not out from skipper Ryan Maskell. At this very early stage three teams have won both of their matches – Bognor, Hastings and Preston Nomads.

Saturday’s Premier League fixtures: Cuckfield v Hastings, Middleton v Horsham, Roffey v East Grinstead, Three Bridges v Bognor and Worthing v Preston Nomads.

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